Loss of Napoli magnifies Texas catchers' woes

Loss of Napoli magnifies Texas catchers' woes

NEW YORK -- Last season, Rangers catchers led the American League with a .299 batting average and a .500 slugging percentage from that position. They went into Thursday's game with a collective .230 batting average and a .381 slugging percentage, which both ranked ninth in the AL.

Manager Ron Washington has always said his catcher's primary duty is to work with the pitchers, but he admitted that he would like more offense from the position.

"Definitely -- definitely," Washington said. "It is what it is. I wish I could fantasize it was there, but it's not fantasy baseball."

The reality is that Mike Napoli is on the disabled list with a strained left quad muscle, so the Rangers are going with Geovany Soto as their primary catcher and Luis Martinez as the backup. The pair entered Thursday a combined 0-for-10 this week against the Yankees.

Soto, who started on Thursday, went into the game 5-for-33 (.152) with a home run and four RBIs in nine games since being acquired from the Cubs on July 30. He came up with the bases loaded and one out in the fourth inning on Wednesday, and Yankees pitcher Freddy Garcia got Soto to ground right to shortstop Derek Jeter, who started a double play.

"I knew he was working me away," Soto said. "I didn't want to chase something out of the zone, but he made good pitches. I tried to hit the ball up the middle, but I pulled it a little bit."